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A series of images from the UAB Archives

Office of the Dean, School of Education and Human Sciences, 2024-
Office of the Dean, School of Education, 1971-2024

Immediate Predecessor:

Division of Education, 1966-1971

Immediate Successor:


Reporting Hierarchy:

1971-1989: School of Education, Vice President for University College, President;
1989-1995: School of Education, Vice President for Academic Affairs, Presidentl
1995-2009: School of Education, Provost, President;
2010-2012: School of Education, College of Arts and Sciences, Provost, President
2012-2024: School of Education, Provost, President
2024- : School of Education and Human Sciences, Provost, President


(Interim) Fain A. Guthrie, 1971
Fain A. Guthrie, 1971-1980
Milly Cowles, 1980-1987
(Acting) Clint E. Bruess, 1987-1988
Clint E. Bruess, 1988-1999
(Interim) Michael J. Froning, 1999-2000
Michael J. Froning, 2000-2010
Deborah L. Voltz, 2011-2017
(Interim) Lynn Kirkland, 2017-2018
Autumn Tooms Cypres, 2018-2020
(Interim) Michelle A. Robinson, 2020-2022
(Interim) Scott Snyder, 2023
Teresa Taber Doughty, 2023-


The School of Education was created on August 1, 1971 as one of four new academic schools (Arts & Sciences, Business, Education and Engineering) that were established when UAB created the Office of the Vice President for University College as the administrative unit for the university’s non-Medical Center component. Dr. Fain A. Guthrie was named interim dean of the school upon its creation and shortly afterward, on September 18, 1971, was appointed as the new school’s first dean.

But the components which comprised the new School of Education had existed at UAB and in Birmingham for many years. The school was a direct successor to the Division of Education that had been established in 1966 within the College of General Studies. The College of General Studies was established on September 15, 1966 – it being an outgrowth of the University of Alabama Extension Center – as a unit of the new “University of Alabama in Birmingham,” a four-year, degree-granting branch of the University of Alabama. While students could complete their four years of academic coursework in Birmingham, they continued to receive degrees from The University of Alabama and participated in commencement ceremonies on the university’s campus in Tuscaloosa.

The Division of Education was one of seven academic divisions in the new College of General Studies. Dr. Fain A. Guthrie was named the division’s first chair. At the time, the division offered a B.S. degree in elementary education and secondary certifications in a number of educational areas. Dr. Guthrie soon established cooperative agreements with several local K-12 schools. The division was originally housed in Tidwell Hall.

In 1969 the division was first organized into two academic departments, the Department of Secondary Education and the Department of Elementary Education. The same year, the Division first offered a B.S. degree in Secondary Education and initiated a master’s program in education. An Office of Field Services was soon established to coordinate off-campus teaching; this office later evolved into UAB Special Studies. The Division also established a research office to encourage faculty research. The university’s intramural and intercollegiate athletic programs were first established in 1969 and were placed administratively within the Division of Education. This formed the school’s Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Athletics program, which was elevated to academic departmental status in 1973 as the Department of Health Education, Physical Education and Recreation.

On August 1, 1971, the UAB College of General Studies was disestablished and replaced by the new Office of the Vice President for University College. With this change, the divisions that had operated within the College of General Studies were reorganized as schools and the School of Education was established as one of four academic schools (Arts & Sciences, Business, Education & Engineering) comprising University College. The four new schools all reported to the new Vice President for University College (renamed in 1989 as the Vice President for Academic Affairs before being replaced in 1995 by the Office of the Provost).

In October of 1971 much of the two-month old School of Education was able to occupy the newly completed University College Building No. 1, the first facility completed in the new University College campus. Some units and staff of the school temporarily occupied the Bell Building of the Ullman-Bell Complex and (later) other units and staff would be temporarily housed in University College Building No. 3. The University College Building No. 1 was opened for classes in January 1972 and was formally dedicated along with the other buildings in the new campus of University College on May 20, 1973. In 1983 the building would be formally rededicated as the School of Education Building.

A major in early childhood education was created in the school in the early 1970s. During the academic year of 1972-1973, the EPIC School was opened adjacent to the university campus as a teaching laboratory and training center for education students. By the mid 1970s, the intercollegiate athletic program had been removed from the School of Education’s administration.

In 1975, the School of Education underwent a major internal reorganization that was effective on the fifteenth of September, and out of the two existing academic departments, seven new departments emerged along with five service offices. The academic departments were: Counselor Education & Educational Psychology; Educational Leadership; Elementary & Early Childhood Education; Health Education, Physical Education & Recreation; Secondary Instruction & Educational Foundations; Special Education; and Vocational Education. The five service offices were: the Regional Center for Community Education and the Offices of Clinical Experiences; Educational Research & Evaluation; Professional Development & Field Services; and Student Personnel Services and Records.

In 1977-1978, the school conducted a study of all programs. This study resulted in major changes in admission, retention and graduation requirements for undergraduates. By 1985, the school was awarding its first education doctorate. All School of Education programs are fully accredited by the NASDTE, NCATE, and the Alabama State Board of Education.

In 1993, the School of Education underwent another major reorganization that resulted in the elimination of several academic departments and a merger of programs to form three academic departments: the Department of Curriculum and Instruction, the Department of Leadership, Special Education, and Foundations, and the Department of Human Studies. This organizational change, which remains in effect today, had been approved by the University of Alabama Board of Trustees at the board’s meeting in October 1993.

Dr. Fain Guthrie, who had served as head of the Division of Education since 1966 and had served as the school’s first dean, resigned in March 1980. Following Guthrie’s resignation, long-time faculty member and Associate Dean Milly Cowles replaced him as the second dean of education on March 15, 1980. When Dr. Cowles retired on June 30, 1987, Dr. Clint Bruess, then chair of Health Education, Physical Education and Recreation, was named acting dean of the school. Bruess served in that capacity until May of 1988 when he became the third dean of the School of Education. Bruess served until the end of September 1999 and was succeeded by Dr. Michael Froning, who was named interim dean. On December 8, 2000, Froning became the fourth dean of the UAB School of Education.

Effective January 1, 2010, UAB reorganized some of the university's non-health science academic schools, and the School of Education became one of the component units of the university's newly created College of Arts and Sciences. Dr. Froning retired soon after this realignment, and on January 1, 2011, faculty member Dr. Deborah L. Voltz became the school's fifth dean.  During the 2012-2013 academic year, the School of Education was removed from a reporting line to the College of Arts and Sciences and Dean Voltz was given a direct report to the Office of the Provost, returning the school to its original independence from the College.

When Dr. Voltz stepped down in 2017 and returned to the faculty, Dr. Lynn Kirkland was appointed as the school's interim dean. Dr. Kirkland was previously the chair of the Department of Curriculum and Instruction.  She served until the summer of 2018 when Dr. Autumn Tooms Cypres became the school's sixth dean.  Dr. Cypres came to UAB from St. John's University in New York and assumed the office of dean on July 1, 2018. Her tenure as dean was brief and in 2020 she became UAB's associate provost for Lifelong Learning.  As a result, on October 1, 2020, Dr. Michelle Robinson became the school's interim dean.  Dr. Robinson, a member of the faculty of the dental school, had previously served as the interim dean of the School of Dentistry.  Dr. Robinson thus became the first faculty member to have served as interim dean of two different academic schools at UAB.  Robinson served as dean in that interim capacity until the end of December 2022 when she was succeeded by Dr. Scott Snyder, the school's associate dean for Research.  He became interim dean of the School of Education in January 2023 and served briefly in that capacity until the arrival on campus of a new dean.  Dr. Teresa Doughty began her tenure as the seventh dean of Education on April 3, 2023, and she continued as dean when the school was renamed in 2024 as the School of Education and Human Sciences.

This page created 2007 and last updated by Tim L. Pennycuff on 13 May 2024.
Copyright: The University of Alabama Board of Trustees.

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